Upon returning to J1 for the first time in 13 years, Yokohama FC met Vissel Kobe in the opening match of this season. Their lead, obtained through Tatsuki Seko’s goal was cancelled out later, but resulted in a 1-1 draw against the Emperor’s Cup winners. While Yokohama FC feature many youngsters playing in the Japanese top flight for the first time, they are supported by experienced stars such as Kazuyoshi Miura, Shunsuke Nakamura and Daisuke Matsui. They aim to seize the first victory of the season through their solid defense and speedy attacks from the flanks.
Sapporo were defeated 4-2 by Kashiwa Reysol on the opening day. They were vulnerable especially in the first half, when conceded easily. However, in the second half they showed improvement, which led to goals by Takuma Arano and Musashi Suzuki. Although they did not bring in any major reinforcement, the foundation of their passing football built in the past two years under Petrovic still seems very solid, and their attack-minded style is unchanged.